UN envoy in Chad about Minurcat
Ndjamena - UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy has arrived in Chad for talks on Ndjamena's demand for the withdrawal of a UN military force, a UN source said on Thursday.
Le Roy "is here until Monday, and will on Sunday make a trip to Abeche", the eastern town where the force known as Minurcat is based, said the source who asked not to be named.
Forces of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (Minurcat) are also based in the neighbouring CAR, with a similar mission to help protect refugees and displaced people, but Chadian authorities have said the UN troops are failing to do their job.
During his stay, Le Roy will talk to the secretary of state for foreign relations, President Idriss Deby's special representative to Minurcat and the prime minister, as well "possibly with President Deby", the source said.
Le Roy and his UN counterpart for humanitarian affairs, John Holmes, said after a UN Security Council session last week that the United Nations and Chad were negotiating to find an agreement on the future of the force, whose mandate expires on March 15.
Deby has called the force a "failure" in its task of protecting about 500 000 civilians, including refugees from Darfur across Chad's border in west Sudan, and displaced Chadians and Central Africans, who are in camps because of conflict in their own countries.
Minurcat was set up under a UN Security Council resolution in 2007. As well as guarding the refugees, mostly in eastern Chad, it was tasked with helping in humanitarian aid work and promoting the voluntary return of refugees.
The UN Security Council has backed the mission, which operates in a volatile part of central Africa, and has encouraged further negotiations with the Ndjamena on its future.